PopulationMetro: 456,145
An arts and music city with uncommon spirit and smarts, Asheville is nothing less than awesome.

Nestled between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains—and with spectacular views of both—Asheville celebrates its bohemian spirit and artsy roots year-round, with events, festivals and good times that rank second (just behind Honolulu) for Programming in the country.

Dig down into the subcategories and this mountain gem boasts better-performing Nightlife (#1) and Shopping (#1) than the Hawaiian capital.

The #1 city for Nightlife is also a launching pad for musicians, offering what artists of all ages crave in a city: affordability, local beer and a lively after-hours scene.

Place 42
Product 70
Programming 90
People 56
Prosperity 32
Promotion 55

“We believe that music attracts visitors—and can attract more visitors—and enrich their experiences here,” says Stephanie Brown, president & CEO of Asheville CVB.

Live music born of the region’s bluegrass roots harmonizes with new talent and innovative sounds to the tune of $383 million in the region’s tourism economy, according to the Economic Development Coalition.

Asheville continues its ascent in the Museum category with a #2 finish, behind only Charleston. Case in point, the recent reopening of Asheville Art Museum features education facilities, an art library, a lecture and performance space, a new ArtPLAYce for families and children and the addition of a rooftop sculpture terrace and café.